An Introduction to Letters of Demand

A lawyer is signing a letter of demand document


A letter of demand (LOD) is a formal letter that lists out a set of demands for the recipient to comply with. A letter of demand is usually sent by a lawyer on behalf of their clients and will often threaten additional legal action if the demands of the letter are not satisfied within a stated period of time.

A letter of demand can be sent for many purposes, not just the recovery of money. Below is some common examples:

  1. Requesting the payment of an overdue invoice.
  2. Requesting the re-payment of money that was loaned to the debtor.
  3. Removal of defamatory content, for example on social media or a website.
  4. Requesting the publication of a formal apology, for example, a retraction and apology in a newspaper or website.
  5. Removal of an image from social media or another source.
  6. To stop harassment or nuisance, including debt collectors, competitors, neighbors, etc
  7. To communicate a cease and desist that requests the adverse party to stop doing something. For example stealing and using your website content, infringing on your copyright etc

The contents of a demand letter

A letter of demand will usually contain the following types of information:

  • The identity of the individual or organisation making the claim
  • The identity of the lawyer and/or firm that is acting for the claimant and their contact details
  • The matter in dispute and the material facts
  • The claims that are put forward against the recipient of the demand letter
  • The list of demands being made to satisfy the claimant
  • The timeline by which the recipient must respond or satisfy the claimants demands

Can I write my own demand letter?

Yes, anyone can technically write and send a demand letter. There are many advantages to leveraging a law firm for this service, these include:

  • A letter of demand is not necessarily an expensive undertaking, it may be a small price to pay relative to the cost of not getting the response you’re looking for.
  • A law firm is not emotionally attached to your situation and allows them to review the facts and recommend the most appropriate next steps.
  • Law firms have significant experience in drafting effective letters of demand, negating any time and effort required on your part to research and create your own demand letter.
  • The issuance of a demand letter from a law firm will include the law firms their letterhead. It demonstrates to the debtor that you have hired a professional third party to take up action, and this will give your demands more weight.

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